Companies coming out the recession have strengthened their strategic positions by leveraging two popular high level concepts - Going Green and Going Mobile.
A primary underlying initiative that is the catalyst for both of these concepts is the focused effort to reduce commercial real estate commitments. Many Companies are beginning to realize that real estate is a significant expense that is no longer necessary with the advent of new technologies that support a mobile workforce. Popular concepts that have been around for a while are beginning to take hold as technology advances support them.
Concepts like "hoteling" and "telecommuting" are more viable today with the advance of Communications as a Service (CaaS). The over-supply of commercial real estate has positioned many companies to work with landlords to reduce their real estate footprint. This cannot be accomplished without a plan. The plan, many of these Companies are leveraging, is to use new technologies that facilitate mobility and collaboration from anywhere in the world.
Voice over IP (VoIP) or Communications as a Service (CaaS) and Software as a Service (SaaS) are changing the way we work and collaborate with clients and employees. The ability to untether ourselves from a physical office space opens many doors to improving efficiency, productivity and competitiveness.
Companies that operate in this new post-recession model will be more efficient with significantly lower operating costs/employee. Real estate overhead reduction is the means to energy reduction or "Going Green". Consuming roughly 23 million megawatt-hours (MWh) of electricity each year, office buildings account for 28 percent of all commercial energy demand. The math is pretty easy on this one. If you reduce your square footage by 50% you reduce your energy consumption by roughly 50%.
Telecommuting is obviously good for the environment by reducing air pollution but the real benefit to the Company is improved productivity. A recent study by the State of Virginia established that 69% of telecommuters reported they accomplished more than they would have in the office. The biggest benefits were: work/life balance for employees, productivity, recruitment and retention and environmental impact.
The technology that allows the Corporation to extend functionality to employees telecommuting is the same technology that can be used to facilitate a mobile workforce. A mobile workforce provides a significant competitive advantage in that clients and employees are able to communicate more effectively. This leads to better client satisfaction in responding to client needs and faster decision making cycles in responding to corporate needs.
Technology can become a distraction as many Companies struggle to stay up to date and maintain their technology infrastructure. This effort diverts a lot of attention away from the core business. CEO's we speak with just expect the technology to work and don't want to have to divert time and energy toward keeping them working.
Most Companies still consider voice communications the lifeblood of their business, yet struggle with technology that is either too complex or out of date. This leads to investments in technology that cannot or are not optimized to provide advanced functionality to support the initiatives discussed in this paper.
The answer for many Companies is Communications as a Service (CaaS). CaaS is a type of outsourced enterprise communications solution where a third party vendor is responsible for the management of hardware and software required for delivering Voice over IP (VoIP), instant messaging, and video conferencing applications using fixed and mobile devices.
We do not believe CaaS means these applications must reside in a third party data center. There are many reasons having these applications reside on the Corporate LAN/WAN is a requirement. Some of these reasons are high-reliability, database integration, flexibility and cost. Many of the same reasons can be argued for hosting these applications with a third party.
With the options more complex than ever it is important Companies work with CaaS providers who can represent both premise and hosted solutions from world class best-in-breed manufacturers. The CaaS provider needs both voice and networking experience to manage a successful implementation.
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